The steady hum of vintage has wound down to a gentle whisper of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir slowly finishing their ferments. 2017 has been a very promising vintage for Crittenden Estate, the journey to this point beginning around spring 2016.
Our vineyard sprung to life right on schedule and was followed by strong, healthy spring growth. The vineyards flowering period coincided with a cool spell in November, leading to reduced potential yields and a few nerves leading into summer. A hands on approach and attention to detail in the vineyard helped reduce the threat of disease from high humidity and heavy rainfall over the New Year period. A mild to warm summer ensued, along with timely rainfall, aiding the vineyard in the approach to harvest. For us, the 2017 vintage will be defined by the near perfect ripening conditions of late February and March. Mild days, cool nights and dry weather led to a stable, prolonged ripening for our grapes, with our various blocks picked at optimum balance and ripeness.
Things moved very smoothly in the winery this harvest. Batches of fruit arrived in timely fashion and were given their deserved full attention by the winery team. Time enough to put some premium Pinot Noir through our little basket press, gently extracting the skins, giving superb results. The whites exhibit lovely natural acidity, ripeness and balance. At this early stage the potential quality is very high. The Pinot Noirs have an elegant poise, fine subtle tannin and are less boisterous than 2016. They poses excellent expression of place and in time will become archetypical Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noirs.
With winter setting in the vineyard begins to shut down and winery slips back a gear or two. There is, however, plenty of work to do and the excitement of seeing the 2017 wines develop in barrel will provide ample inspiration.